I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Most of it has been thinking since Spark People released it's latest update to the website and mobile app. I'm not normally one to complain about them, but this update is not really… that great for me. Navigating the site to find the things I normally used, the resources I found most helpful, is now a huge pain. It's making me think that perhaps this site is no longer conducive to my journey. My interaction with my friends here has dropped significantly, particularly now that I have to do a lot of digging, clicking, and navigating just to find my Friend Feed! Of course, that isn't fully true. I've noticed a drop since the beginning of November, around the time I started to feel depressed again for a spell. Around that time I only saw 1 or 2 comments on each blog I posted when my average was around 5 or 6. I'm not blaming anyone. I'm 110% sure it's a response to a lack of reciprocity on my part. I need to put in the effort, too, not just my friends supporting me. Only now my lack of interaction is exacerbated by navigational issues. I don't like going on a cyber safari just to be able to talk to and support my fellow Sparks. It's also not fair of Spark People to essentially “force” me to be social with people I don't know. I mean, that's the point of the giant community feed, isn't it? To make you see stories from complete strangers in hopes that they will inspire you and that you'll connect with them and become friends? I'm always up for meeting new people here, but I want that to happen naturally in the course of board posts or seeing comments on my friend's pages/blogs and responding to that. I don't want to made to feel like I need to be extroverted when I'm feeling more introverted lately. I'm still struggling with some depression and I promise I'm working on finding some counseling. It looks like a few more providers have been added to my insurance, so that's good.
Having said all that, I'm not going to leave Spark. At least not right now, nor do I have plans to in the future. Hell, this next January will be my 10 year Sparkversary. But, I think I also might need to explore other ways to interact with health-minded people and cultivate friendships, in addition to nurturing friendships I already have with people on Spark. Find me on Facebook or Instagram! I'm on there fairly frequently, so feel free! In the meantime, I'll be thinking of something else I can do. I already have a pen-and-paper food and exercise journal I can use to aid in tracking offline. I have a few church friends that meet to workout together every so often, I could ask if I can join them. I'm not without options, but I've been digital so long, I'll have to think of ways to go native.
I've also been fairly active, too. When I finally shook off the last bits of bronchitis and sinusitis, I got back to the gym and began working on my stamina. I had pretty much lost all of it. I went from 35 minutes on the treadmill and full body weight routines to 20 minutes on the treadmill and focusing on one body area at a time. Thankfully, I have managed to stay fairly healthy since then and have attended the gym regularly. I make sure to pack my bag the night before so I can just grab it and go when I get off work. Today I did 35 minutes on the treadmill, but only had time after to do some legs. I'm kind of glad because I haven't been sleeping well for the last 3 or 4 nights, so I've been a bit tired and worn out. I forced myself to go to the gym and I'm glad I did. But, I easily could have benefited from a long nap, too. Here it is 11 p.m. and I'm not improving this sleep thing at all! Anyway, I'm back to the fitness level I was before contracting ebola/hanta plague virus of death in February.
Unfortunately, I'm still not seeing any good results from my regular routine. I already know why. For a BIG starters, my diet needs some overhauling. I eat out too much and make poor choices when I do. When I cook at home, I do make food that is healthier than fast food, but probably not much more healthy. I need to get back to my healthier cooking routine: minimal fats (added and present), more veggies, more fruit, more whole grain but less carbs overall, very lean protein, cut back on the sugar and sweets. Candy is my weakness, especially fruity gummy sometimes sour things. Put a piece of chocolate in front of me or a bag of FaveREDS Starburst and I'll go for the Starburst every time. And gummy bears and red vines. And those filled Twizzlers bites. Geez, those things are good!
I also need to increase my exercise time. Right now I'm getting only about 120 weekly minutes of dedicated workouts. The rest of my daily calorie burn stems from my usual activities- gardening, cooking, church, work, etc. While some of these activities are fairly strenuous, particularly gardening and cooking for large functions (usually monthly) at church. However, I've noticed that these sorts of activities don't really contribute to any sort of weight loss or stamina increase or anything like that. I can't really count those burned calories toward reaching any of my goals. I would like to double my workout minutes to 240. That would be a good 4 days at the gym instead of my current 2. That's going to take some brainstorming. I don't have the space at my house to do any at-home stuff at this time. I did once upon a time, but not now. If I can figure out a way to do that, I may just work those extra 120 minutes that way. We're already set to hit 100-plus degree days by the end of this week, plus the wind has been blowing, so outdoor activity is out of the question. If the heat didn't kill me, my asthma would. (It already practically is!)
Anyway, I'm not going to set any goals this month, and probably not for May either as it'll be super busy with work and church activities. I'm just going to do my best and keep up what I'm doing. If I'm able to work out this diet stuff and increased exercise stuff, cool. If I'm not, I'll worry about it in June when things slow down a little.